This may be one of the toughest indicators both to define and quantify. There are probably as many definitions of what true and fair equality between men and women is, as there are people on the planet.
For this indicator, though, again I had to go with what is available. Although maternal mortality rates are a good indication of women’s well-being, especially and obviously, health, I didn’t feel that they represented basic rights as much as possible. So I’ve gone with the number of elected women politicians in national government on the theory that the more actual, real power that women have access to, the more change they will be able to effect for themselves and their communities.
Another aspect of this indicator is very important and must be pointed out. It is pretty well accepted by the international aid community that, in countries where women do not share the same status, power and respect that men receive, the economy and general well-being of the people is not as good as in countries with more equality. (There are exceptions in some of the Arab countries with enormous wealth but I am not convinced that this prosperity will last long-term without fundamental, positive changes in the status of women.)
One of the major discoveries aid agencies have made in the last few decades is that, if you really want to get a community back on its feet, the straightest path towards that goal is simply to empower the women. Infant mortality, maternal mortality, disease rates, all drop dramatically as soon as women are empowered to change and gain control over their lives. Income and rates of education increase as well. (In addition, there seems to be an associated drop in domestic violence as women gain respect from men.)
So, in order to get the world to 100%, it’s essential that women are a part of that program as well as men.
Thanks for stopping by,
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R Lewis Cordell
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